Arrogance is a killer. Arrogance kills people in the church.
My first thought was “arrogance kills the church,” but that’s not exactly possible. Jesus builds the church, he is the cornerstone who anchors it, and the gates of hell won’t prevail against it. Nothing can kill the church. God builds it, sustains it, holds it together in Jesus, and accomplishes his will through it. The bride will be ready when the Savior returns, you can take that to the bank.
But if you have been around the church for more than a couple minutes, you have seen a few casualties. It is perhaps the most grieving part of what I do (as a local church pastor) to witness the derailment of people, families, leaders, pastors, young men, old men, etc. through the sin of arrogance. There are a number of killers out there–impurity, greed, debauchery, lack of self-control–but arrogance (pride, haughtiness, self-worship) seems to be the most prevalent. Perhaps a thread of arrogance runs through every one of the life-derailing vices.
If the original sin wasn’t arrogance, arrogance certainly aided the cause. It all began with questioning God’s word, which led to an attempt to stand toe-to-toe with the Creator. The pure word, pure motives, and pure love of God Almighty was called into question and the attempt was made to “be like God.” Imaging him wasn’t enough. Serving as his representatives on earth, taking responsibility to do his will and obey his voice, reflecting him as his image bearers, weren’t enough when arrogance entered the scene. And broken relationship was the result.
Arrogance steals relationship. It kills relationship. It assaulted the relationship between our first parents and our loving Creator, and it is still in the destruction business.
How many times have you seen this in the church? Arrogance kills people in the church. It ruins families, and it breaks relationships.
How does this happen?
The church is sustained by Jesus, and it is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,” with Christ Jesus as its cornerstone. I take this to be a reference to God’s word, the Scriptures, as our supreme authority, as well as Christ Jesus as the one who holds it all together (the Incarnate Word, himself). Jesus founded the church, he builds the church, and he holds the church together. He does this by his authority and through his authority.
So, fundamental to the church’s DNA is the issue of authority: the authority of Jesus, the authority of the Scriptures, and the authority of the blueprint the Bible gives us for the church. This blueprint includes the structure of leadership, spiritual authority, the sacraments, church discipline, and the faithful preaching of God’s word–all features that have defined the church for 2,000 years.
Arrogance can’t handle authority. It can’t submit to authority–the authority of Jesus, the authority of the Bible, or the authority of the blueprint that the Holy Spirit inspired (as laid out clearly in the Scriptures). Arrogance slithers into hearts and minds lustfully and stealthily; masquerading as passion, hunger, idealism, altruism, vision, dissatisfaction with the status quo, righteousness, justice, or even humility. Once inside a soul, it then begins its dirty little work of division. It begins to whisper, “Did God really say?”
“Did God really design it this way?”
“Did God really call?”
“Is God really working?”
“Is God really here?”
These are neutral questions. None of these are wrong to ask. What matters is the true motive behind the question.
How do we know when the motive is arrogance?
Arrogance pulls away.
Arrogance also exalts:
1) An individual above a community.
2) A negative opinion above a biblical vision.
3) An idealistic notion above a real-world practical solution.
4) A desired end above the Spirit-designed process.
How many people are floating around in our cities and nation who were once regarded as Christians, connected in a local body trying to serve Jesus, but who are now casualties of the culprit Arrogance? How many have derailed their lives and ministries because of alignment with this foul fiend?
There is a better way. God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. He has birthed something–called the church–that is designed to keep us on track.
That is the subject of my next blog.
Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.
 Ephesians 2:20